Advent Capsules

adventWe have one of those advent calendars where you open a different door for each day of advent, so every year, I am trying to find creative ways to fill each space in a way that won’t matter if my children open all the doors on the first day of advent. One method I have come up with is to seal each days activity in it’s own decorative capsule.  Here is how I make the capsules.

Advent materials copy:: Materials ::

* Advent notes * Washi Tape * Plastic straws * Pliers * Lighter *

Advent collage

1.  The first step is to seal one end of the plastic drinking straw. To do this, hold the tip of the straw shut using the pliers.  There should be a small of amount of straw sticking out of the pliers.  This is the section that is going to be melted.  Hold the straw tip to a flame until the end is melted down to the pliers and sealed shut.

2. Write out the messages and activities that you want to open each day of advent onto strips of paper.  Roll these up tightly and secure them with washi tape.  Cut the sealed drinking straw so that it is slightly larger than the note. *You can find a few of my favorite advent activities below.

3.  Insert the note, and seal the other end of the drinking straw in the same way that the first end was sealed.

4.  Cover each end of the straw with washi tape.  Then continue to cover the rest of the straw until it is completely covered.  You may want to use the pliers again to press down on the sealed ends to ensure that the washi tape is stuck down well and the ends are properly sealed.

To open each note, carefully cut off one of the sealed ends of the straw and pull out the message.

advent 2My favorite advent activities:

* Drive around & look at Christmas lights on the “Minivan Express”

* Make a snow globe

* Unwrap & read a Christmas book each night.  Here is a list of books with crafts!

* Make a sugar cube house

* Make garland and ornaments out of gumdrops, popcorn, Cinnamon sticks, orange slices and/or cranberries

Share with us your favorite Advent activities in the comments!

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Twining

“Twining” is a verb meaning to wind or spiral around something.  It is a term to describe an old method used in creating baskets & bags.  In honor of Thanksgiving, I thought it would be fun to share a historic handcraft that was used by the Native Americans & probably the Pilgrims as well.

made by the Nez Perce

Many artifacts have been found all over the world showing us beautiful examples of how this technique has been used in many different cultures.  It is a simple technique that both children & adults will enjoy using.  It can be used in making very basic items or elaborate artful pieces.

I was introduced to the skill of twining this fall at a historical reenactment. A woman was making a bag & was kind enough to show me how she was making it.

To start with, she had looped a piece of twine the size she wanted the bag to be & secured it. This was to be the base of the bag.

Then she cut pieces of twine to a length that was twice the size she wanted the finished bag to be.  She draped these pieces over the initial loop to create her warp.
She cut enough pieces to go all the way around the loop laying the pieces side by side.

To make the warp stay in place, she simply started to twine the weft around each pair of warp strands, twisting the weft after each pair.

She continued to work the weft in this way until she had gone around the bag several times.  Then, she would create a gap & start again an inch or so farther down. I really like the look of these bags that she was making & think they would be great market bags. They look to be very strong & durable.

I had hoped to make a twined bag myself & post a tutorial for you.  However, with this being my first twining project, it is looking a bit rough. A tutorial will come later.